Strong Start to School Spirit

In the past, Woodgrove High School has been harshly criticized for lack of school spirit, by both students and staff. However, this year seems to be different.

When the school first opened in 2010, spirit was everywhere. Both faculty and students were excited to carry over traditions from Valley, as well as create some of their own. But as a few years went by, the amount of spirit dramatically decreased, hitting an all-time low in the winter of 2015.

With early dismissals in the triple digits and the library at capacity, the gym bleachers were half empty as the student council attempted to excite the crowd for the seasonal pep rally. In an attempt to make improvements for future events, student activities coordinator Jeff Schutte asked his senior students why they didn’t stay for that pep rally. The answers he got were not really answers at all.

“There wasn’t ever really an answer as to why [they didn’t stay],” Schutte said. “It was just ‘I didn’t really feel like it, I didn’t really want to go.’”

As a result of pitifully low participation, the spring pep rally that year was cancelled for the first time in Woodgrove history.
This year, however, early signs of increasing school spirit leaves students optimistic. Two pep rallies, four home football games and a homecoming dance, all in the first two months of school, have produced a remarkably higher level of spirit than this time last year.

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The air was buzzing with energy all day as the community anticipated the first home football game against Loudoun County High School. An action-packed pep rally concluded the day, with spirit climbing higher and higher in the hours leading up to the game. The student section, the Wild, was bigger than ever. American flags, silly string and the sound of a portable air-raid siren filled the air as the Woodgrove football team took the field.

We aren’t only seeing spirit in sporting events, though. Homecoming court polls showed a dramatic increase in student participation in comparison to previous years. 821 students, around 52% of the school population, voted for court this year, compared to less than 33% last year and even lower percentages in earlier years.

Leadership of the new senior class of 2016 is the motivating factor behind this increase in spirit. Underclassmen look up to the seniors. If the seniors participate, then the younger classes will think it’s cool for them to do it, too.

“If the seniors set the tone of ‘it’s important, we want to be there,’ then the other three classes see that,” Schutte said.

But just because it’s looking good right now, doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Years past have shown that school spirit always starts out pretty high, and stays elevated through homecoming week. But sometime between October and December, spirit drops. In the months between the homecoming dance and the winter pep rally, students lose the motivation to come to school, let alone participate in pep rallies and attend sporting events.

The class of 2017 is showing a promising amount of spirit and a determination to keep it going. We as a school have a responsibility, both to ourselves and to our community, to take pride in who we are and what we represent. We’ve had an amazing start. Let’s not screw it up.